Multiple Community Brands studies show that career advancement benefits – including training, certification/credentials, and networking – are important and/or becoming more important to association members. Studies also show that these benefits are especially valued by members who are early in their careers.
Career advancement opportunities are a key driver of member acquisition and retention. So, what can your association do to bridge the gaps and deliver more of the career-advancing benefits members seek?
Here are three tips and some powerful resources to help you elevate career advancement opportunities for your members:
1. Invest in your training and certification program
Take time to review your training and certification programs and be sure to include these types of career advancement opportunities in your meetings and conferences. At the same time, remember that while you might have moved your annual conference to a virtual conference in the last few years, it’s still important to engage members in a variety of year-round learning opportunities to address members’ budgets, schedules, educational and certification needs, and learning preferences.
2. Give your online career center more attention
If you think about your online career center as simply a place for job postings, you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage more with members and give them more of the value they want. Your association’s online career center should offer a wealth of career advancement opportunities for your members, which is especially helpful when the economy is in flux. It should become a true career destination for all of your members.
Providing educational suggestions, occupation outlooks, salary benchmarks, unemployment data, “day in the life” videos, and more can become an extremely valuable part of your association’s engagement strategy.
Here are some examples of career content and resources you can add to your online career center to give members the support and know-how they’re seeking:
- Résumé review – Offer free résumé critique through your career center.
- Job seeker articles, tips, and recommendations – Offer articles and other content including résumé writing tips, interview techniques, job search ideas, and tips on social networking.
- Career coaches – Connect members with certified career coaches to help with things like job search strategies, interview tips, and résumé writing
- Industry career insight – Provide insights for job seekers looking to learn more about their current career stage and future roles with additional content for qualifications, education, and certification requirements, expected salary, etc. This allows you to become the go-to place for career-related content for your industry.
- Career path mapping – Give your members a clear roadmap to reach their professional goals. For example, using Career Paths® by YM Careers, give your members an online tool to map out their career path based on the job they want. It gives them a well-defined path to get there, including the skills, learning, and job titles they need to reach their goals.
3. Keep networking alive
Your members are seeking networking opportunities. These are major selling points for joining your organization. Be sure to promote them in your member recruitment and onboarding activities. You’ll attract new members to your organization and get members more involved for years to come. So, be sure to help them connect with each other throughout the year. Here are some ideas:
- Plan networking events. Whether they’re in-person or virtual, offer networking events throughout the year. These can be happy hours, lunches, discussion groups, career fairs, or any other type of event focused on connecting members with each other, with thought leaders in your industry, with hiring managers, and with your organization’s staff.
- Get social. Integrate social media with your career center site to allow job seekers who view a job in your job board to see any LinkedIn connection they have who works at the company This is a useful technology integration that can help them open doors to new opportunities.
- Offer an online member community. Become part of your members’ daily social networking habits by providing an online member community where members can find industry information, network with your organization and other members, and share ideas. Look for technology that supports a modern experience, with tools to help you keep members engaged.
- Don’t forget your annual conference. Your annual conference is a great opportunity for members to connect with each other as well as others in your industry. Set aside specific times in your in-person or virtual conference schedule for networking activities.
One of the top three reasons members join associations is to advance their careers. With sophisticated job recommendations and job seeker resources, you can become your members’ most trusted asset for lifelong career growth. Your association can offer members the insights they need to research, plan and develop their careers and be the ultimate career planning destination. With Career Planning Portal, included with every YM Careers Job Board, members can access relevant industry career content and resources to help them plan for career success.